4/20 in the Trump era: Marijuana celebration or political rally? | SummitDaily.com

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4/20 in the Trump era: Marijuana celebration or political rally?

A big crowd gathers at Civic Center and light up during 4/20 celebration April 20, 2016 in Denver, despite the official rally being cancelled due to weather.

There was a time — before the vendor booths, before the concerts with famous headliners, before the documentary crews and before the cannabis tour groups — when 4/20 in Denver meant a simple protest rally.

Eleven years ago, only a couple thousand people gathered in Civic Center park for the annual marijuana smokeout in defiance of state and federal laws. The rally planned for Thursday could hardly look different — 250 vendor booths, tens of thousands expected to attend and the rapper 2 Chainz scheduled to perform.

But organizers also hope that this year, especially, will bring a renewed commitment to activism.

"The rally is by definition a coming together for the common good," said Miguel Lopez, who holds the permit for the rally and has been its most vocal advocate for years. "But we can't be that effective if we're not engaging a little more."